Before the world got to hear Florida Georgia Line‘s collaboration with The Chainsmokers, “Last Day Alive,” on April 7, the FGL guys — Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard — admitted that the team-up was a “dream collaboration” for them. In fact, when Kelley and Hubbard chatted with Billboard at the Academy of Country Music Awards (yes, right after their epic performance with the Backstreet Boys), Hubbard said that the last time they had been asked who they wanted to collaborate with, Kelley suggested The Chainsmokers.
So when the country stars were approached by the hitmaking dance duo for “Last Day Alive,” it wasn’t a no-brainer to say yes — it was also “just a little sign” that they’re doing exactly what they’re supposed to be doing, Hubbard tells Billboard in a new interview.
A few weeks after the song’s release, Florida Georgia Line hopped on the phone to give us a little more detail about how the song came together, what it was like getting to know The Chainsmokers guys, and how their “twang” ended up working with a dance track. Take a look at an edited transcript of their conversation below.
Kelley: They were supposed to do it with somebody else, I think… but they came to us, and we took the challenge. I think it was a Monday — we came off tour, rolled in and hit the studio. We’d been listening to it for a couple of days so we kinda were familiar with it, but as you start singing it, you start uncovering layers and learning all the harmonies. It’s a unique song with different melodies, and the harmonies are crazy, they’re all layered. The demo vocals we had were pretty much perfect, they were just money. So we really stretched our voices and tried some different things. We just put everything we had that day into that song.
Hubbard: You can’t really take the twang out of our voice completely, it’s kind of always there — but it’s one of those these that really adapts well to different environments, different sounds and different songs. That’s something that we’re trying to take advantage of.
Kelley: It’s always cool to sing a song that we didn’t write that we could’ve wrote or would’ve written, we fall in love with immediately and know it’s going to connect with our fans. That song is super powerful, it’s super hopeful, it’s emotional. From the moment it starts, it kind of grabs you. And I think it’s also cool to step outside of our comfort zone, out of our creative box, and do something that sounds like it might be a little weird or different — “Florida Georgia Line and Chainsmokers, what’s that gonna sound like?” Well, hopefully exactly like it should, like it does. I think it turned out just like we wanted it to. We felt like we had some good vibes on that song. And The Chainsmokers, they’re good energy guys, they’re almost like brothers.
Hubbard: They’re just like BK and I — they dream big and they like to hang out, have a good time and kind of see where the futures go and see what the possibilities are. The sky’s the limit for those guys, they’re doing big things. That’s always what BK and I have said for our goals and our dreams. It works out well, and it’s going to be a fun journey together.